tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC August 5, 2010 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
deliberately not telling them, here is rachel maddow. it's quiet, it's too quiet. >> you think this is a shoe about to drop situation? >> no. you can't let them know the shoe actually dropped. >> that would imply gravity. yes. >> you know. as you know, the real believers don't believe in gravity. >> thank you very much. thanks to you at home for staying with us. we begin with a correction. an error on last night's show that i need to clear up. last night, we covered reaction to the landmark federal court ruling striking down the gay marriage ban in california. after reading that ruling and not only absorbing that it overturned the gay marriage ban but the way that it did it, the kind of language that the ruling used, ion this program sitting here last night said this. >> judge walker, who's a george h.w. bush appointee, not only struck down the gay marriage ban
as unconstitutional, also probably set the stage for what will probably be the next big court fight and next big political fight. the anti-gay marriage side that was defeated has filed paperwork expressing their intention to appeal the decision. you could expect to hear lots of excerpts from the legal ruling not only in the legal discussion but in the political fight as well. i think many conservatives will see this language as explosive. >> the political fight that is sure to come as well. correction time. that apparently is not happening. at least not yet. i mean, the legal fight goes on. the anti--gay marriage people are filing an appeal. the political fight does not seem to be happening. did you notice any big press conferences in washington? anti-gay marriage republicans.
no, nothing, and congress is in session. the senate passed a big state aid deal today. the house was called back into session. members of congress are around right now. when this huge pro gay marriage ruling came out, where were the outraged republicans? where are you? you guys used to be so good at this. >> marriage is a special institution between a man and a woman. and our constitution and laws should reflect that. >> when you do these vast social experiments -- and that's what this is when you redefine marriage -- it's a vast social experiment. >> marriage is between a man and a woman. nobody ever thought that was contested until recently. >> constitutional amendment is necessary. if enacted, it would ban illegitimate marriages. there is no civilization which has condoned homosexual marriage that has long survived. >> isn't it true awful what
happened to scandinavia? where's that fighting spirit today. not only was it a judge in san francisco striking down a gay marriage ban. but with perfect timing for the election in a few months, he struck it down in terms a swear were designed to end up on republican placards and bloody hand-printed campaign busses. he wrote this. the gay marriage exclusion exists at a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and marriage. that time has passed. come on, where is the republican party? karl rove, where are you? what happened to your gay marriage as your great wedge issue such where's the republican party making political hay to run on in november? this is a long, slow curveball right over the plate for republicans. if you want to be blunt about political opportunity for republicans, consider where president obama is on this issue. watch david axelrod trying to explain the president's position on msnbc this morning. watch this man being turned into
a human pretzel right before your human eyes. >> the president opposed proposition 8 at the time. he felt it was divisive and mean spirited and opposed it at the time. we reiterated that position yesterday. the president does oppose same sex marriage but supports quality for gay and lesbian couples and benefits and other issues. that has been effectuated in federal agencies under his control. he supports civil unions and that's been his position throughout. nothing has changed. >> got that? so the line from the administration is that barack obama does not want gay people to be allowed to be married. but when gay people can be married and other people are trying to take away that right, like in california, he doesn't want the right to be taken away. but he's not in favor of that right in the first place.
you got it? the president is against gay marriage but also against constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage, which means he apparently prefers gay marriage be banned through flimsier tactical means? that's the president's position. clear as mud? ripe for criticism much? now not only are republicans not running on their favorite wedge issue. they're not even going after president obama for what really counts as low-hanging fruit here. they're not going after president obama for his impossibly tortured logic on this issue. it would be easy to do. mr. president, do you stand with the voters of california who hate gay marriage or that liberal activist judge in san francisco who says there's no such thing as gender? where do you stand, sir? republicans are letting this opportunity go. it's not that nobody on the right is responding to this. the far reaches of the right have had some great responses so far. the american family association call the judge who ruled on the case a black-robed tyrant.
>> he has exceeded his constitutional authority and engaged in judicial tyranny. the spokesman for the mormon church, a huge financial backer of proposition 8 responded to the ruling with this statement. quote, marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of society. that's verbatim. i do think that he said man and a woman, singular, not women, plural, but we are checking on that. remember rick santorum. the man on dog guy. he tweeted, quote, prop 8 ruling another example of the left use get raw, detached, unaccountable force of the courts to impose their moral division. then newt gingrich called it an outrageous disrespect for our constitution and for the majority of people of the united states who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. i'm not sure if wife number three was standing at mr.
gingrich's side when he was bravely defending the sanctity of marriage. or if he just made that as a thrice husband standing alone. there has been some response on the right but it's been minimal as well as inadvertently funny. as far as we can tell, there have only been a few conservative members of congress weighing in. a couple of minutes after the ruling was released, jim demint decried it as another attempt to impose a secular immorality on the american people. other than jim demint and maybe one or two others, reactions from republicans have been muted, few and far between. down in texas, the dallas voice newspaper noted today, republican governor rick perry who champions texas' marriage amendment hasn't said a word. likewise, we ain't seen squat from republican attorney general greg abbott or todd staples who helped draft our texas marriage amendment. perhaps the most telling indicator of where republicans are on this is that today the
committee to get republicans elected to the senate blasted out a mass e-mail ignoring the prop 8 ruling and instead railing against obama-care. ignoring yesterday's republican wedge issue in favor of old news that passed months ago. a state ban on gay marriage has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court for the first time in american history. and the crusading protectors of marriage in the republican party, who love to run on this issue, instead are hiding. come out, come out wherever you are. joining us is msnbc contributor jonathan alter, author of the new book, "the promise." mr. alter, good to see you. >> hi, rachel. >> where are the republicans on this? >> you know, i have to speculate here. i have to introduce that caveat. this is a real mystery. and i'm not sure that anybody has the full answer. all i can do is answer some theories.
the first would be the conspiratorial theory, the stealth theory. they're waiting to trap president obama into endorsing gay marriage and then they'll pounce on him. >> i like that one. i like conspiracy theories. >> that could be one option. another is how the obama team talks all the time about no distractions. they considered gays in the military last year to be a distraction. that's why they didn't bring it up. i think they consider gay marriage to be a distraction from their agendas. it's possible the tea party folks also see it as a distraction from what they consider to be their core mission of destroying president obama. >> okay. in that -- >> if they don't think that this is their best bet according to their calculation of bringing him down, then they'll save their ammo. they like that word ammo, for other kinds of issues. if you look into the dna of this
tea party movement, it was not started by social conservatives, but by libertarian economic conservatives. if you look at the motives and read the interviews with the leaders of the movement, they are not religious right by and large. they have quite a number of members who are, but that is not at the core of their movement. they are driving things in the conservative wing of the republican party. so ever since terry schaivo, for the political right, everything has been downhill since. >> on that issue, on the left, gay people, of course, are repulsed at having our civil rights being seen as a distraction, and we long have been, right. but the al gory for that on the right is that the social conservatives are repulsed by having the issues so close to them being seen as a distraction.
the question is, if republicans -- if social conservatives see themselves being pushed out, by the more libertarian-minded tea party folks. why aren't they expressing any dissatisfaction and anger about that? why aren't we seeing more fighting? >> they don't have clear leaders now. i would be interested to see what governor huckabee has to say. he hasn't been heard from yet. he's as close as they have to a leader of the social conservatives. you might expect, given the mormon church's position, governor romney would be speaking out more and maybe he will in the days ahead. i think in answer to your question, the social conservatives, religious right, don't have the mojo right now on the right. they're a little bit on the defensive. there's not a sense that karl rove's strategies were very successful. you know, the left is very afraid of karl rove and talking about how powerful he is. he wasn't getting it done in the second bush administration. they clearly miscalculated on
the schaivo case. there are a lot of republicans who say that was a terribly unpopular thing for them to do to call congress to a halt and intervene in this one case of this brain dead woman. the other factor, which i think is quite important with more establishment republicans, is the role of ted olson in this case. he has great credibility within the republican party establishment. >> last night he told me in an interview right after the ruling, he said he feels like conservatives are moving his way. he hasn't felt like he's had to pay a lot of conservative price for having taken the stand that he took. >> right. because he was out front and because he has a lot of the facts on his sided -- this is the other thing. you have a certain number of conservatives who recognize that the legal arguments for prop 8 were weak and were dispensed with great dispatch in this opinion and are not likely to be resurrected. their whole argument was that gay marriage was damaging to kids.
that has been slam dunked. there are almost no experts -- there are only, quote, experts who are social conservatives who argue anybody who studies it knows it's not true. it doesn't make your kids more likely to be gay. >> saying they're going to drop this as a political issue -- >> no. i'm not saying that. i'm saying it strengthens ted olson's credibility. if you have a combination of establishment republicans who don't really want to tackle this because they think it might be a political loser for them, they're not that interested. many have members of their family who are gay, a combination of that, the fact that it's not central to the tea party movement, you're talking about a more moribund part of the conservative movement. you've got the hypocrite caucus, right, with newt gingrich out there. you've got an awful lot of
people who might otherwise be spokesmen but can't talk about the sanctity of marriage because they don't believe in it themselves. they haven't walked the walk. so those folks are all immediately discredited. to have spokesmen when they have no facts on their side -- nowadays even on fox, they'll get hammered if they have no argument on their side. it's just a little bit tougher for them to go out there the way they used to. we should take it as a kind of modest victory, unless it's the stealth theory. >> newsweek senior editor and author of "the promise." thank you so much for being here. one of our senior producers, tina cohen, spent today falling in professional love with the nixon presidential archives. the obama administration is taking a dramatic step to restore the honor of someone who got smeared by and lost his career because of nixon.
we've got tape we think has never been broadcast before that shows this guy's life being ruined while the white house knew they were doing it. the injustice is being fixed. the details and the tape are amazing. that's next. hi, ellen! hi, ellen! hi, ellen! hi, ellen! we're going on a field trip to china! wow. [ chuckles ] when i was a kid, we -- we would just go to the -- the farm. [ cow moos ] [ laughter ] no, seriously, where are you guys going? ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! [ female announcer ] the new classroom. see it. live it. share it. on the human network. cisco. going great, babs. made it really easy for customers to manage their car insurance policy online. well, you know that's why we have 24/7 support, so customers can call us anytime. [ in a robotic voice ] does not compute. error. [ all ] error. error. error. malfunction, babs. beep. boop. boop.
president obama has formally asked the united states senate to restore the rank, to return the lost stars, to a general. a general who was demoted and disgraced 38 years ago. it began in late 1971 when four-star general john lavelle authorized the bombing of north vietnamese targets. he did so because he was ordered to do so.
he was demoted, strips of one of his stars and forced to retire early at a lower rank. it was the first time in modern military history that a four-star general was demoted on retirement. then congress called hearings. there were multiple investigations. he was denounced as a rogue general authorizing bombings without orders and trying to cover them up. the process excoriated him, accusing him of waging a private war. in, quote, clear violation of the white house rules. democratic senator proxmire called for him to be court-martialed. after all that, congress took away another one of his stars. general lavelle lost his job, his reputation, even though he maintained throughout and has the pentagon and current president acknowledged today, he was not ordering unauthorized bombings. he was not only authorized to do what he did, he was ordered to do what he did by the
then-president of the united states, richard millhouse nixon. nixon not only authorized bombings but covered up these bombings and kept quiet while this general was hung out to dry. the incredible thing that we can now show you, that we can play you tapes of, is that in private president nixon not only acknowledged he was being made a scapegoat, he lamented it. he knew what he was doing when he let this guy take the fall for what he, richard nixon, did. what he did that he didn't want to admit to. in one extraordinary conversation with henry kissinger, president nixon keeps returning to the subject of general lavelle and why the defense secretary demoted him and forced him into retirement. >> let me ask you about lavelle. i just want him to be made --
>> we all about this playing games. >> what happened was he had a reason to believe that we wanted him to take aggressive measures. he had him already removed by the time i learned about it and the damage was done. >> you destroy a man's career. >> the president went on to rail about the scape-goating and the way congress found out from an air force sergeant who wrote to his senator. >> i don't want a man persecuted for what he thought he was doing right. and this sounds like another elsburg case to me. now, what is this situation? is this -- it sounds like feelings with making the guy a
goat now. it's just not right. >> it's just not right, but let's do it anyway. here's nixon wanting to know if there was anything he could do to help lavelle, even though lavelle had already been placed. >> what happens to lavelle now? can we do anything to stop this damn thing? >> no. if they hadn't removed -- well, if they hadn't removed him, but we have one who understands us better. lavelle was removed at the end of march. >> why the hell did this happen? >> mr. president, the point was -- >> something we told -- you remember, we told them to keep pressure in march. >> by the time i knew about it, it had already been done. there was no point in being involved anymore.
>> the conversation moved to what was most important to nixon in 1972. what spin to put on the man the nixon white house was destroying in order to protect nixon in a year he was running for re-election. >> we'll come back to lavelle. how is it going to -- >> let me talk to -- >> what i meant is how do we handle it public relations wise? what do you think about it? >> i think this will go away. >> it's a bad rap for him, henry. >> it's a bad rap for him. >> it's so amazing that we have these tapes. this is 1972, nixon tapes. nixon kept bringing this issue up of this guy he was throwing under the bus even weeks later. >> frankly, henry, i don't feel right about our pushing him into this thing. and then giving him a bad rap. >> i don't feel right about it, henry.
three days after saying that to kissinger in private, here's what nixon said in public when he flat-out threw this general under the bus. >> it was unauthorized. it was directed against only those military targets which were the areas you that were being used for firing on american planes. but since it did exceed authorization, it was proper for him to be relieved and retired. >> it exceeded authorization other than your orders that you know you gave. he throws him right under the bus publicly. even though nixon knows he authorized the thing, there he is in public saying it wasn't authorized. he knew it. now, privately, nixon continued to lament the bus underthrowing for months. here he is with national security aide alexander haig while general lavelle is getting ripped by the press and the congress. >> we've got to be able to do
something to help. >> i don't think so, sir. i've been watching -- >> we told laird that. >> we back you to the hilt. >> we back you to the hilt. oops. even two weeks after the senate stripped general lavelle of another star, leaving him demoted and retired and disgraced, nixon was still talking about it, still privately acknowledging he did wrong. >> all of this goddamn crap about lavelle. and i feel sorry for him because you and i know we did tell him. go back and do it right. when you fire people, they fire back. and i mean it. now, lavelle knew that i'd given that order. >> lavelle knew that i'd given that order.
that's why he did it. all of that regret and self consciousness about ruining this man, destroying this man's career for something that nixon did, for all of that, nixon never, ever spoke up about it publicly. after all, he had an election to win that year. nothing can get in the way of that. apparently for that, still having a soul of any status is optional. it's taken 38 years, but general lavelle is on his way to being fully exonerated. having his four-star status restored. general lavelle died 31 years ago. his widow is 91. she has been fighting for decades to clear his name. his name is now being cleared. one more note. we at the rachel maddow show owe a big thank you to the supervisor archivist of nixon tapes projects at the national archives nixon presidential library, who not only found all of the nixon tapes but stayed very late at work to do it. many thanks, sar. you have a very cool job and for us you did it very well. thank you.
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so here's a sleeper of an issue. at the top of the show, we talked about how republicans are so far giving up the opportunity to run on gay marriage, the traditional beloved wedge issue. but their other traditional beloved wedge issue of,s of course, abortion rights. we here have been looking into this issue for this year's mid-terms for a couple of weeks now. although it is not getting a lot
of coverage, i think we can say in a kind of quiet, sleepy way the republican party is without actually talking about it this year nominating a group of candidates for top of the ticket races that are more extreme on the issue of abortion than any other slate of top of the ticket candidates in any year. now, that assertion is the product of our review of these candidates' positions. it is open to debate. i would be happy to debate it with somebody, but so far nobody is debating this. the reason we're covering this is i think maybe we ought to be. even if you just look at the u.s. senate and republican nominees and front-runners this year, the slate is amazing. take, for example, sharron angle, the candidates republicans chose to take on harry reid in nevada. here's what ms. angle had to say about the abortion rights for victims of rape and incest. >> is there any reason at all for an abortion? >> not in my book. >> so rape and incest would not be something?
>> you know, i'm a christian. >> right. >> and i believe that god has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives. and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations. we need to have a little faith in many things. >> that was january. in june, sharron angle shared the advice she would give to girls and women who she thinks should be forced to carry their rapist's babies to term. >> when a young girl is raped by her father, let's say, and she is pregnant. how do you explain this to her in terms of wanting her to go through the process of having the baby? >> i think that two wrongs don't make a right. i have been in the situation of counseling young girls, not 13, but 15, who have had very at-risk, difficult pregnancies. and my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. and they found that they had
made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade. >> sharron angle, again, this is the republican nominee for u.s. senate currently occupied by harry reid, not only thinks a pregnant teenage rape and insist victim should be forced to carry her pregnancy to term. she thinks of being a pregnant raped teenager as a lemon situation that can be turned into a rape and incest lemonade situation. that's sharron angle. then there's kentucky republican senate nominee and good friend to the rachel maddow show, rand paul. he gave an interview in january. he confirmed that he is, in fact, pro life. saying that the only time abortion should be legal is, quote, in the case of the mortality of the mother. then the paper asked the inevitable follow-up question. what about instances of rape or incest? do you think the decision should be left to the government rather than the families? he said in cases of rape, trying
to prevent pregnancy is the best thing. ultimately we do better if we have better education about family planning. better education about family planning for rapists? he's being asked about rapists there. and people committing incest. he says they just need to plan better for these families that they're making. we've been trying for two days to get a clarification from the rand paul campaign about whether if there is an instance of rape and incest he thinks it should be illegal for a woman to get an abortion. so far he will not tell us. nor anyone from his campaign will call us back. we did find this on his website. a questionnaire, for the question, do you oppose abortion in cases of rape and incest, rand paul checked yes. but he still won't return our phone calls. in the great state of colorado, that state's primaries
are next week, but the current front runner for republican seat for senate is a man named ken balk. -- ken buck. watch how quickly he signs himself up for the rape victim pregnancy monitoring caucus. >> how do you feel about abortion? are you for abortion or against it? if you're for it, in what instances? >> i am pro life. i will answer the next question. i don't believe in the exceptions of rape and incest. >> ken buck getting right to the point. jumping right in line with sharron angle and rand paul. all three candidates campaigning for the united states senate as small government conservatives, all maintaining government should be big enough it should monitor every single pregnancy in the country to ensure every woman who becomes pregnant is forced by the government to carry that pregnancy to term. women who are raped or the victims of incest, should have their pregnancies monitored by the federal government so that the government can ensure they are forced to give birth to the child that is the product of
rape or incest. this is a position that was beyond the pale even in fringe anti-abortion politics not many years ago. the idea of exceptions for rape, incest and the life and health of the mother has been the bright line for even strongly anti-abortion candidates for a very long time. apparently those days are over. nobody's really talking about it, but you this year's crop of republicans believe that women should be forced to bear rapist's children. when i called this a sleeper issue, what i meant was that they're not apparently trying to make this a national issue. they're not trying to run on this as a national issue. i can understand why. but maybe democrats should be making this a national issue. it's pain relief without the pills.
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it is not unusual to see republican senate candidates oppose abortion rights. in review of the abortion positions of this year's crop of new republican senate candidates though, the radicalness of these candidates' anti-abortion positions does stand out. it stands out, we think, based on our review to a historic extent. i don't know of a slate of top of the ticket candidates all fielded in any one year in american politics that has been this radical on abortion issues.
so why have we heard so little about it from these republicans who have such strong views on abortion or from their democratic opponents? joining us is princeton professor, and msnbc contributor, melissa harris- lacewell. thanks for joining us. >> oh, of course, any time. >> so what would be the consequences of having a whole bunch of new sitting senators elected to the u.s. senate who were opposed to abortion not just in all regular cases but also in cases in which the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest? >> i think we've already seen the consequences of having a significant portion of even one party, even the party out of power, with a very strong anti-reproductive choice agenda. we saw it, for example, in the health care fight, where somehow abortion became the central issue in a comprehensive health care reform bill. the central issue became controlling women's right to choose. controlling women's fertility. not giving women the ability to
control their own but having the government do it. i think clearly every time we move more aggressively against women's reproductive rights, the more we will see the consequences show up in everything from health care policy to potentially moving towards reducing the opportunities for women to actually find healthy, safe termination services. >> why is it -- why do you think that abortion politics that used to be confined only to the real fringe of the anti-abortion movement are now mainstream enough for republican senate candidates to be adopting them, not just one or two but a whole slew of them? how did even anti-abortion politics in mainstream electoral politics get so fringy? >> you've been doing a lot of history tonight. i just want to pause and do a quick history lesson here and remind your viewers that what's happening is we're in a period of deep economic anxiety.
often when america is in a period of economic anxiety, it starts looking around for individuals to blame. and sometimes the very best place to start asserting control is right in the middle of a woman, in her uterus. the fact is there's been a lot of discourse about women's reproduction. on the one hand, there's this anxiety about the derogatory anchor babies, right? the idea there's a population that is overreproducing. these women should be shunted out of the country and criminalized and their children should not be given citizenship rights. on the other hand, there is an issue of wanting middle class white women to have more babies. what middle class white women have done is go off and have careers and become equal in their marriages. so marriage equality is not just about scary same-sex people but also about these assertive women
who are equal in their marriages and, therefore, not producing enough white children to counter back all of these bad anchor babies. there is a whole set of racial and economic anxieties that always emerge whenever we start looking at politicians wanting to talk about controlling the fertility and particularly the reproductive choices of women. >> why do you think the democrats have been gun shy so far about making an issue of this? these are real extreme anti-abortion positions? i know that democrats have lost the taste for fighting on the abortion issue, but in this case it sort of seems like you'd expect them to be crowing about this. >> i think there are probably two reasons. one, i think it's important to take those who have a religious and moral objection to abortion very seriously. when they say they believe that a pregnancy termination is murder. the fact is that if you believe that, right, you simply can't have a conversation about when is it okay to commit murder and when isn't it, right?
part of it is there is a strong position for those who are against it on these moral or ethical grounds. by the way, i respect that position, i just don't think it should be a matter of law. i think individuals have a right to hold that opinion. precisely the kind of government we have is that those positions should be protected as well as the right to choose for those who don't believe that the termination of a pregnancy constitutes murder. part of it is, it's hard to have the conversation. because there's not a lot of common ground. the other piece of it is, democrats just haven't done a very good job about redefining ethical questions and normative questions from a progressive agenda perspective. they continue to kind of cede this ground to conservatives. it's still more of the same work we've been needing to do for a decade. >> melissa harris-lacewell. somebody who is very smart who i always enjoy talking to.
really appreciate it. coming up on "countdown," keith's exclusive interview with sharron angle. an interview so exclusive, sharron angle doesn't even know about it. we bid adieu to the politician we have lovingly known as the human seive. that's head. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing. i want to fall in love again. [ female announcer ] discover the best of what's next at aarp.org.
it was going to be the fight of the century. and then it wasn't at all the fight of the century. today it ended with a majority decision. the u.s. senate confirmed elena kagan to a lifetime appointment on the supreme court. >> she will be the 112th justice in the court's history, the fourth woman ever. she'll also be the umpteenth potential republican talking point to go kaput in this political season. remember republicans talking about filibustering her nomination? oh, me neither. today's 63 votes for elena kagan included five republicans, it was enough that democrats could
afford to write off nebraska's ben nelson who voted against her, the lone democrat to do so. so elena kagan is in, replacing john paul stevens. which means the supreme court, even with a democratic president making appointments, continues to shift to the right. so republicans don't have the supreme court to campaign on. then again, liberals don't either. a spot reserved for me. it's got 26,000 miles on it now, but i'm gonna take it to a thousand million. [ male announcer ] when you own a certified pre-owned mercedes-benz, chances are they'll own it one day, too. which is why it undergoes such a rigorous inspection to meet our uncompromising standards. one day, i'm gonna drive this to vegas. [ male announcer ] hurry in to your authorized mercedes-benz dealer for 1.99% financing during our certified pre-owned sales event through august 31st.
the tsunami that decimated indonesia and in 2005 after the earthquake in pakistan. that's the world's second most populous nation. >> now pakistan is in trouble again, facing the worst now pakistan's in trouble again, facing the worst flooding in at least 80 years. 1,500 people already thought to be killed by those floods. 3 million people homeless or in need of help. like we did after the earthquake five years ago, the u.s. is helping out. we have sent chinook helicopters to distribute relief and rescue people. also like the earthquake five years ago, a big proportion of the aid that's actually getting to people is not being provided by the pakistani government, not by us or by other foreign countries, but by militant islamist groups, including a group that's widely believed to be the front group for lashkar-e-tayyaba, the group that attacked mumbai, india.
a nine-term incumbent congressman pete hoekstra gave up the prospect of running for a tenth term in congress this year because he wanted to try to move up in the world. he gave up his seat in congress after 18 years with all that seniority in order to try to become the republican candidate for governor in his home state of michigan instead. how did he do? well, let's go to pete hoekstra.com and see. here we go. there's the top entry. we did it! oh, so he -- oh, hold on. wait a second. it says congratulations to rick snyder who has won the gop nomination for governor. we did it? oh, i see. petehoekstra.com is an anti-pete hoekstra website.
look at the tag line across the top. dangerous, polarizing. and bad for michigan. the human sieve. pete hoekstra is not a nationally famous republican republican, for is he somebody who remembered to register his own domain name. but he is a very powerful member of congress. he's the republican's top guy on intelligence. were republicans a majority in the house again, he would be running the intelligence committee right now and however boring the idea of congressional committees is, the intelligence committee is a really big deal. intelligence committee members get access to a ton of super-secret, super-important information. they are entrusted with all sorts of stuff that even other members of congress don't get to know about. frankly, pete hoekstra as the top republican on intelligence proved himself to be such a disaster over and over and over again that it is worth saying good-bye to him now. as his political career comes to a spectacular crashing burning end. if there's one thing that he is
nationally remembered for, it's what he declared alongside then senator man on dog rick santorum that they had found the weapons of mass destruction in iraq. remember that press conference? >> congressman and i are here today to say that we have found weapons of mass destruction in iraq. >> this says weapons have been discovered. more weapons exist. and they state that iraq was not a wmd-free zone. >> spoken with conviction. totally made up. again, it would be one thing if this were just coming from some random kook member of congress, but this guy's the top republican on intelligence in congress and he thinks he found the weapons of mass destruction. when pete hoekstra was not declaring that he had found imaginary weapons in iraq, mr. hoekstra also found time to use attempted terrorist attacks on this country as fund-raising opportunities. precisely three classy days
after the failed christmas day bombing aboard a detroit-bound u.s. airliner, pete hoekstra sent out a fund-raising letter about the terrorist attack begging for money. quote, if you'll agree that we need a governor who will stand up to the obama-pelosi efforts to weaken our security, please make a most generous contribution of $25, $50, $100 or even $250 to my campaign. when criticized for his decision to use terrorist attacks to raise money for himself, this was his defense. >> i've been leading on national security for the last nine years that i've been on the intelligence committee. >> you've been what on national security? >> i've been leading on national security. >> i thought he said leaking. i thought he said he had been leaking on national security because that is true. he has been doing that. it was my friend steve bennan at "washington monthly" that coined the term the human sieve to describe the congressman, because he is pathologically
unable to keep classified information to himself. he is incapable of not leaking. in 2007, he wrote an op-ed for the new york post in which he complained about intelligence leaks. quote, leaks to the news media have seriously undermined anti-terrorist intelligence programs. then two paragraphs down, he leaked the up until then classified information that the 2008 intelligence authorization bill had cut human intelligence programs. pete hoekstra's complaint about leaks and his own leak were separated by 43 words. then there was his trip to iraq last year. usually when members of congress take trips to war zones, we get to see pictures of what they did and where they went only after they get home safely. usually they like to keep the details of these trips on the down-low while they're actually there in order to protect those american officials, but when he went to iraq in february of last year, he incessantly tweeted his whereabouts in realtime so anyone with internet access would know the exact location of
him and his congressional delegation full of high value insurgent targets at any moment. at 1:41 a.m. on february 6th, quote, just landed in baghdad. then helpfully if you lost track of him, you wanted to know exactly where he was and where he was heading next, at 3:56 a.m., he tweeted quote, moved into green zone by helicopter. iraqi flag now over palace. headed to new u.s. embassy. still time to meet me there. then there was the time in '06 when he pushed the bush administration to post boxloads of documents from the fallen iraqi government online. documents that included, it turned out, nuclear bomb-making instructions. they put on the internet a basic guide to building an atom bomb, a real actual nuclear bomb-making instructions in arabic posted on the interwebs, national security leadership from congressman pete hoekstra who will be a congressman no more, nor a michigan governor. farewell. hon estly, i wish you good luck in whatever your future holds and for all our sake, i hope